Fiji Time: 9:51 PM on Sunday 30 August

Fiji Times Logo

/ Front page / Sport

Blues in the race

Aap
Friday, May 02, 2014

WELLINGTON - The weakened Blues are last in a jam-packed race for New Zealand Conference honours and in danger of missing the Super Rugby play-offs for a third straight season.

But coach Sir John Kirwan reckons it's the Queensland Reds who are under pressure.

Two former title-winning teams struggling to find their best form meet at Eden Park tonight, with Kirwan anxious that his men repeat the aggressive approach that felled Australian opposition at the same venue last week.

The 21-13 defeat of the Waratahs wasn't a vintage performance but was enough to suggest the Blues can lift further from the ninth placing and push for their first play-off appearance under Kirwan.

"Last week was what we needed to do from an intensity and effort point of view and that now needs to be our minimum, we need to at least match that," he said.

"All our games have been going right down to the wire but I'm confident if we can bring that attitude then we'll be in the hunt."

The Blues' cause isn't helped by losing centre Francis Saili to an ankle injury suffered at training on Wednesday. He is replaced by Jackson Willison.

Also missing is captain Luke Braid to a shoulder injury, leaving the second-choice Brendon O'Connor to combat Liam Gill, the classy Reds openside flanker who returns after five weeks battling a hamstring niggle.

While the Blues are still in the hunt with a 4-5 win-loss record, the 13th-placed Reds are on the precipice at 3-6, having lost their last three games.

"They'll be desperate so we can't wait, we've just got to really hoe in and replicate the energy and effort that we put in last week," Kirwan said.

"It's a big night for us and we feel like we're the underdogs."

Kirwan believed the play-off make-up would go down to the final round and was enjoying being part of a Kiwi conference in which six points cover the five teams, who are nestled from fourth to ninth place.

"It's great all the sides are so close, but it's pressure games every week. You can't slip up, especially now. The next three to four weeks are going to be very defining."





Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Westpac
Code Inward TTs Outward TTs
CAD 0.62450.6055
JPY 56.810253.8102
GBP 0.30290.2949
EUR 0.41450.4025
NZD 0.73480.7018
AUD 0.66190.6369
USD 0.47110.4541

from

$0.00

Exchange Rate updated on 27th August 2015

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. PM's warning
  2. Nadolo gets $2 for RWC
  3. Naiyaravoro world cup conspiracy
  4. Attacks on democracy will not be tolerated by the State
  5. One down
  6. Asian stock fall to affect Fijian economy
  7. Prasad wins personality title
  8. Ministry assists elderly couple
  9. FWCC plans three shelters worth $1.7m for victims
  10. Plans to generate money

Top Stories this Week

  1. Sayed-Khaiyum responds to Karavaki warning Thursday (27 Aug)
  2. Guns in town Thursday (27 Aug)
  3. Birth by the river Tuesday (25 Aug)
  4. Making the cut Monday (24 Aug)
  5. PM turns down Ratu Naiqama request Thursday (27 Aug)
  6. Military, police beef up manpower Tuesday (25 Aug)
  7. John quits 7s job Tuesday (25 Aug)
  8. Soldiers patrol town prior to sedition case Wednesday (26 Aug)
  9. PM's warning Sunday (30 Aug)
  10. Draunidalo hits back Friday (28 Aug)